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Archive for Monday, January 4, 2010

Review: ‘Avatar’ absorbing portrayal of deep issues

January 4, 2010

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Earth has become a dying planet, and humans are attempting to get resources from other planets, one such as Pandora. The movie begins with Jake Sully, a paralyzed ex-Marine attempting to fill his brother’s shoes by completing his unfinished military mission on Pandora. Regardless of Jake’s condition, he is still fully dedicated to deceitfully befriend the people of the planet, the Na’vi, for information regarding the mission of mining a rock-like substance that sells for copiously high amounts of money back on Earth.

Through the means of the Avatar program, Jake, along with other people, can explore Pandora with the bodies of Na’vis without having to leave the military camp. Jake’s ignorance is almost his undoing during his first trip to the wilderness of Pandora as he has to survive the night by himself by having to run away from a wild animal. In a moment of almost certain death, Jake receives help from a Na’vi woman named Neytiri. She takes him to the “Home Tree” where she is assigned to teach Jake the ways of the indigenous people.

As the movie progresses, the line between species blurs for Jake, and he eventually takes sides with the Na’vi. The humans, disregarding the Na’vi’s customs, begin to tear apart the forest, causing mass disarray. Jake then rallies up all of the natives in an attempt to fight off the humans, which in the end succeeds.

The movie is truly a one-of-a-kind film, touching deep issues and blending CGI and reality so well you can’t tell the difference. It’s somewhat hard to explain, as it has a mystical feel to it that enthralls the viewer into the world of Pandora.

At a deeper look, “Avatar” seems to reflect what a bastardized nation America is and how it became this way through means of promoting genocide and slaughtering people for its own needs of wealth and resources. The movie definitely lives up to the hype and beyond. It’s truly a masterpiece and will be more than likely a portal to a new era of cinematic films and filmmaking. Overall, I would give it 5 out of 5 stars due to everything that came into play.

Comments

Noah Nunn 4 years, 3 months ago

And I wrote a REVIEW, not a criticism paper.

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Mel Briscoe 4 years, 3 months ago

"Story line: A good concept but poorly delivered. An overt socio-environmental message that fails to challenge the audience and comes off quite preachy. Don't mind the message but my mother stopped spoon feeding me when I was three years old. Plot was predictable once the conflict was clarified."

couldn't agree more.

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leedavid 4 years, 3 months ago

Anon: "Why do you hate English professors so much that you would associate them by proximity in the same sentence. Did you have a bad dating experience with an English professor?"

Whoa! Calm down...we will get you out of that tree. Pull your claws back in.

I don't hate english teachers. I have dyslexia so we are not real fond of each other, but I don't hate them. I said second rate english professor, not all english professors just he bad ones. I chose that profession because they are the ones that have us read into the symbolic meaning of literature, to see the words that are not on the page. I always argued, how do we know that an author had a second meaning, when that person is dead and we can't ask them. Example: Just because the printed word says "the spirit soared" does not mean he arose to the heavens like Jesus.

The author of this article did much the same thing. Said the movie had a second meaning the (...to reflect what a bastardized nation America is and how it became this way through means of promoting genocide and slaughtering people for its own needs of wealth and resources.) The actual author has said what the movie was about and that clearly was not it. Therefore, much like something a second rate english professor would do. A first rate english prof. would have never gone way out on a limb without fact checking the author.

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rcjhmichael 4 years, 3 months ago

i'm amused such an anti-imperialist movie decided to do a marketing campaign with McDonalds.

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anon1958 4 years, 3 months ago

leedavid (Anonymous) says…

"Rather than what Noah thinks the movie is about, or Phil Kline thinks the movie is about or some second rate college english professor;"

Why do you hate English professors so much that you would associate them by proximity in the same sentence. Did you have a bad dating experience with an English professor?

Also who do you think contributed to this thread that is an English professor?

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75x55 4 years, 3 months ago

anon - so that would be... WAY out west...

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leedavid 4 years, 3 months ago

Rather than what Noah thinks the movie is about, or Phil Kline thinks the movie is about or some second rate college english professor; let's go directly to the author. Big article, can't paste it all, but he wanted to make and action adventure.

"In 1994, director James Cameron wrote a 80-page scriptment for Avatar[6] and he reportedly wrote it in just two weeks.[36] Cameron said his inspiration was "every single science fiction book I read as a kid", and that he was particularly striving to update the style of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter series."

He did intend to address the Iraq war however;

"The movie is also about peace.[56] Cameron acknowledged that it implicitly criticizes America's War in Iraq and the impersonal nature of mechanized warfare in general.[57] In reference to the use of the term "shock and awe" in the film, Cameron stated, "We know what it feels like to launch the missiles. We don't know what it feels like for them to land on our home soil, not in America." A scene in the film portrays the violent destruction of the towering Na'vi Hometree, which collapses in flames after a missile attack, coating the landscape with ash and floating embers. When asked about the scene's visual resemblance to the events of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Cameron said he had been "surprised at how much it did look like September 11".[57]"

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avatar_(2009_film)

As far as the film "...reflect what a bastardized nation America is and how it became this way through means of promoting genocide and slaughtering people for its own needs of wealth and resources. "

That is a bunch of manure.

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sully97 4 years, 3 months ago

Special Effects: Great! Best part of the movie.

Story line: A good concept but poorly delivered. An overt socio-environmental message that fails to challenge the audience and comes off quite preachy. Don't mind the message but my mothe stopped spoon feeding me when I was three years old. Plot was predictable once the conflict was clarified.

Dialogue: Irritating and distracting. Felt like I was back in high school.

Characters: One dimensional. None of them were particularly likeable, but were instead rather poorly rehashed caricatures of yesterday's films: a gung-ho soldier who finds himself by going native and winning the hearts of the tribe (Dances with Wolves), the dehumanizing military man with a mypoic fixation on killing for its own sake (A Few Good Men, Dr. Strangelove, Full Metal Jacket, etc), the distant elitist academic at odds with the system she signed on with to further her research (any acme disaster film), the cold corporate weasle who is the driving force of all evil in the film (Boiler Room, A Christmas Carol, It's a Wonderful Life, Aliens, etc) and the pure and faultless indigenous people who are one with nature and exploited by colonization (most Disney films and TNT westerns). Males are mostly stupid brutes and females are savvy, witty warriors--not unlike most sitcoms, commercials, or Saturday morning "Hannah Montana" kid shows.

Overall, the fist 20 minutes of 3-D effects were worth seeing on the big screen, but the rest can wait until either the DVD release or, better yet, the remake 20 years from now when good writing and character depth make a comeback in Hollywood.

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Mixolydian 4 years, 3 months ago

Dances with Smurfs

No more deep than that.

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devobrun 4 years, 3 months ago

And don't you forget, anon, that there are only 7 stories that have ever been told.

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anon1958 4 years, 3 months ago

"Don't forget, 'Star Wars' was just a rehashed western in disguise. "

The first Star Wars to hit the screen was basically a science fiction remake of the "Hidden Fortress" by Akira Kurasawa. "The Magnificent Seven" which spawned a huge number of westerns was itself a blatant ripoff of "The Seven Samurai" by Akira Kurasawa. So really, to be more precise, Star Wars was just rehashed westerns that were rehashed japanese movies.

I wish I could make that kind of money rehashing something!

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salad 4 years, 3 months ago

^Couldn't disagree more. Yer makin' stuff up.

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devobrun 4 years, 3 months ago

That used to be true, salad. Not anymore. We used to look forward and to heck with the past. Not anymore. Now we are reflective and reflexive, thanks to movies and other media that have trained the masses in how to think.

New think is reflective, guilt-ridden, and soul demolishing.

Look at how natives were treated. Don't look how they treated each other. Evaluate centuries-old behaviors with modern sensibilities. Guilt trip waiting to happen.

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parrotuya 4 years, 3 months ago

The movie is not deep because James Cameron doesn't make deep movies, e.g. The Terminator, The Abyss and Titanic. But his movies are very profitable and very entertaining.

The 3-D version is breath-taking. It is almost like being in the movie. I didn't even get a headache!

Conservatives will hate this movie because they hate looking into the mirror. If Phil Klein - failed attorney general extraordinaire - hates it, then it must be good!

p.s. James Cameron is a gun nut, has he gone rogue?

DOWn, baby, DOWn!

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salad 4 years, 3 months ago

After the movie was over, I heard a guy talking about "the deeper meaning" and how this was Camerons critizicsm of US policy toward the native american, "..but the US army didn't go out and intentionally kill women and children. Like, ....that's not what Custer did."

I turned around and pointedly countered him, "No, that's EXACTLY what the US Army, and in particular, Custer, did to native americans."

As a people, self-reflection and truth is not our strong suit.

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Mel Briscoe 4 years, 3 months ago

oops, sorry, i just remembered it was a dude who had directed another blockbuster. my bad. lol ;P

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MyName 4 years, 3 months ago

@honeychild:

Pretty sure it was James Cameron (a.k.a. Titanic guy), not Peter Jackson (a.k.a. Lord of the Rings guy) that did this movie. And I think the plot always takes 2nd place to getting the look a feel of the movie so you feel like you're traveling somewhere. If I want a deep and involved story, I'll read.

But yeah, what you said sounds about right from what I've heard.

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Flap Doodle 4 years, 3 months ago

The Avatar soundtrack is certified 100% Celine Dion free. That's gotta count for something. BTW, Mel, James Cameron was the director, not Peter Jackson.

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Mel Briscoe 4 years, 3 months ago

i would give it 3 out of 5 stars. the storyline is so super duper predictable. i mean, once you are introduced to all of the main characters, you pretty much know exactly what's going to happen and how the rest of the movie is going to play out.

there is nothing thinly veiled about peter jackson's intentions. mind you, i am not criticizing. i agree w/ what he is trying to say. the blue folks in the movie basically represent any indigenous, tribal people (eg., the native americans, the african bushpeople, the australian aboriginis) and how colonializaion (ie., enterprising europeans on the move) has attempted to rob these folks of their traditions, language, religion, spritiuality and, of course, land.

everything else is basically a statement on the environment and the rainforests in particular. like i said, nothing thinly veiled about it. its very obvious the point mr. jackson is trying to get across. he smacks you upside the head w/ it.

in the meantime he offers up some lush, gorgeous visuals. eye candy-- marvelous to look at.

anyway, i'd give it a C plus or a 3/5 stars. if it weren't for the contrived storyline i'd give it a much higher mark.

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Flap Doodle 4 years, 3 months ago

"Dances with Wookies" However, the CGI is jaw-droppingly wonderful.

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Liberty275 4 years, 3 months ago

If America wanted to bastardize anything, it could be a lot more effective at it than we have been. We haven't even considered taking the big guns out of their holsters.

Politics aside, and they don't belong in a movie if the movie takes a side, I hear Avatar is at least a technical marvel.

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75x55 4 years, 3 months ago

"deep"?

How about "usual tired leftist Hollywood derivative"?

Don't forget, 'Star Wars' was just a rehashed western in disguise. Unfortunately, movie investment doesn't equal new and interesting story.

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geekin_topekan 4 years, 3 months ago

Well, it was "deep" enough to scare Phil Kline into writing a self-absorbed disclaimer for all God fearing Christians, so I had to go and see for myself.

My review is as follows. Go. If you smoke, go stoned (I don't btw). If you can see it at IMAX in 3D, that would be even better.

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anon1958 4 years, 3 months ago

This movie is entertaining but not especially deep. The plot is boy meets girl, good guys kill bad guys. Just because it is making a fantastic amount of money does not suddenly make it movie that explores important philosophical issues in any meaningful way.

For the dialogue and plot, the movie was too long and would have been quite tedious at its current running time were it not for the very impressive computer generated effects. As far as the movie being absorbing, I disagree, we are not talking about a movie like Full Metal Jacket where if you blink you will miss an important subtextual clue about either the movie or the society it portrays.

I realize that the general public holds movies to a mediocre or low standard and that the Journal World is not exactly a shining beacon of wit, but this movie while entertaining, is no more than that.

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